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woman and dog on road trip

What Should You Pack for a Pet Road Trip?

Windows down, music blasting. Is there anything better than a summer road trip? After two years indoors, and lots of anxiety around travel, many of us are itching to get back out on the open road. Arguably, the only thing that can make a solo excursion even better is bringing your best friend along for the ride. If you're a pet parent, it's very likely that your BFF may not be of the human variety.

If you're planning to take your dog or cat on a journey with you, you're going to want to plan ahead for the most seamless experience possible. Whether you're on your way to living that #vanlife, or just taking a one-time adventure, what's a busy pet mom or dad to pack? At Figo, we're not only pet people but avid travelers. Here are a few essentials we make sure to have on hand when we hit the road.

Road tripping with your cat or dog

The first goal is to ensure your companion is feeling their best with a baseline health exam. Scheduling a checkup before you depart will give you comfort in knowing there are no underlying illnesses waiting to emerge while you're on the move.

Fun fact: if you're a member of the Figo Fam, this exam may be covered with our Wellness or Veterinary Exam Fee Powerup. Once your pet is good as gold, you may want to pack the following items:

Pet road trip packing checklist

  • Medications: Vet-prescribed motion sickness medication is great to have if your pet gets car sick. You'll also want to ensure you have all your pet's other meds in their original pill bottles (so they don't get mixed up in transit).

  • Carrier: A snug and welcoming carrier or crate is vital, as allowing your cat or dog to free-roam in the car is dangerous for you both.

  • Car harness: If your pet doesn't do well in a carrier, you may want to invest in a secure harness you can buckle in. The Sherpa seatbelt harness is crash tested for safety, which is of utmost importance if you happen to find yourself in an accident on the road.

  • Cleaning supplies: Paper towels and upholstery cleaner can save your clothes, and your car, should any bodily fluids go flying at inopportune moments.

  • Tunes: A queue of calming music can be a nice touch to help anxious pets feel better. Get your Spotify ready!

  • Car hammock: Pet covers and dog hammocks for the back seat can help keep pet hair from getting all over your vehicle, with a secondary function of keeping your dog in place and out of the passenger seat.

  • Tags: Ensure all your pet's ID tags are fully updated and snugly attached. Additionally, getting your pet microchipped is vital and is quite inexpensive. Pets can behave erratically in new places so you can never be too safe. 

  • Water bowls: Bring along a collapsible water bowl and plenty of water to be sure they stay hydrated. If you're planning to take your dog on hikes, you may want to invest in a portable dog water bottle as well so they don't get too thirsty on their adventures.

  • Food: Keep your dog or cat's food in sealable containers, particularly if you're planning to camp along the way. Wild animals are drawn to the scent of pet food and it may bring unwelcome attention to your campsite.

  • Toys: Your pets may become anxious in the car. Bringing along some familiar toys and a bone or two can help pacify and calm them down. 

  • Potty items: Cats most likely won’t love having to do their business in the grass. Bring a bag of clean litter and disposable trays just in case. For your pup, don't forget to bring along enough waste bags as you never know if spots along your route will have them easily accessible.

  • Flea/tick preventative: Don't leave this important item behind especially if you're planning to trek into the wilderness with your pets. While you may not need these if you have a city dog or indoor cat, fleas and ticks are a real threat in rural areas and shouldn't be taken lightly.

  • Pet bags or luggage: Particularly if you're traveling with multiple pets, you may want to get them each their own bag or "suitcase" so their medications, toys, and food are separated. When you have a fully packed car, pre-organizing your pet's items can save you time and frustration later on in your trip.

  • First aid kit: Accidents happen. Don't get caught without some sort of med-pack in case you or your pet get injured.

  • Paw washer: Like flies to honey, the mud just seems to draw our pets toward it. If you're hitting the road and expecting your pet to take some potty breaks along the way, having a paw washer on hand can keep your car from getting overrun with dirt.

  • Calming tools: If your pet experiences significant anxiety in the car and you've tried medications to no avail, give some calming treats and sprays a try!

Note: while we can attempt to control the outcome of our pet-friendly vacations, that may not be entirely possible. Ensure you're covered by considering Figo's Extra Care Pack Powerup. One of the greatest benefits is that it includes reimbursement for vacation cancellation, in case your flight or trip is impeded (as is often the case these days). Not only that, but we offer coverage for boarding fees in the event that you fall ill on your trip or have an accident. Peace of mind for the adventurous pet parent? That's our thing.


Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Protect your pet from the unexpected with Figo Pet Insurance, rated “Best Pet Insurance” by Reviews.com since 2017.

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